Archive for the ‘Living a Life Off-Center’ Category

Tripping out at Tripologie

In Living a Life Off-Center on September 12, 2013 at 8:48 am

I have a luggage fetish. I inherited it from my mom, and she openly admits that the call of a new suitcase is hard to resist. Every single trip, from the very time I could walk I remember entering my a travel or luggage shop with my mother, didn’t matter if she had a brand new, spanking set of suitcases, she just had to see what else was out there. Over the years, I may even say decades, we have had almost every shape, size, color of wheeled, non-wheeled, softshell, hardshell travel-ready container at our disposal. Some lasted many, many years, some were merely used once or twice and then given away. Today, I fully embraced my own travel accessory addiction and took a “trip” down to Tripologie which was very conveniently located on the ground floor of the same building as my yoga studio in Bonifacio Global City (The Active Fun Building).



Walking inside this well-lit, cleanly designed shop had the same effect on me as a candy store would have on a diabetic. My senses went into overdrive. Wall to wall had every kind of travel accessory a travel bug would love to own. Different brands, from Thule, Carlton, Echolac, Wenger, HelloLulu…the list goes on bombarded me to the edges of my peripheral vision.



As much as I wanted to browse for hours, I knew I had to make it back in time upstairs for a yoga class, so I gave myself about 30-40 minutes as a deadline. Thankfully, I was greeted by Brand Manager, Arlene Gadil, and the other staff members (like the very patient and informative Paolo) who took the time to show me several sets of luggage based on my needs and wants.

Weight, of course is very important, I normally travel alone and didn’t want to cause additional strain to my body by having to cart around and lift heavy bags. The first option was the Carlton Aerlite


It came in three sizes, four wheeled, TSA Lock and are expandable up to two inches…which is great news for those last minute shopping needs. 🙂 There were two colors that got my attention, the khaki and the maroon. Green and red are my favorite colors, so I was first trying to decide between these two.

But, on the subject of expansion, Arlene and her team decided to expand my experience with luggage and brought out something else.


The even more lightweight, hard-shell, scratch-resistant, rainproof Sonar line from Carlton. I think the color alone took my breath away. This was definitely something I would be able to spot right away on a conveyor belt. Not to mention I’ve never had a hardshell set before, always choosing the more “practical” yet “classic” look and functionality of the softshell.

I was in decision-hell. I had brought two of my yoga co-teachers with me, and one said “get the red” (Aerlite) and the other one said “I’d get the green” (Sonar). One plus the Aerlite had was that it’s equipped with I-track.


Each Aerlite piece has a special code that you can input in a worldwide database. This acts as a tracker should any of your Aerlite pieces go MIA.

But, the hardshell, in their pistachio green glory just kept drawing my eye to them. I ended up spending about 20 minutes like this:


Seriously, this was the longest I ever took to decide on any shopping spree I’ve had. We opened up the two biggest ones and although the Aerlite definitely had more space…I decided to go with the set that took my breath away. 🙂


I am euphoric…so euphoric that on the suggestion of Arlene I also got a universal adaptor that she claimed would just make my gadget life wherever I went so much easierImage

Thank you to the Tripologie team!!! I can’t wait to happily say “Have bags (ok Sonar suitcases) will travel 🙂


For more information or to check out the Tripologie branches call:

Tripologie BGC – (02) 4785065

Tripologie Alabang Town Ctr – (02) 5536608

Tripologie Eastwood Citywalk 2 – (02) 5845669

Juice for (fashion) emergencies

In Living a Life Off-Center on September 2, 2013 at 6:26 am

I love to eat. If you happen to be following me on twitter or on any of the other social media programs you will probably notice that I predominantly post food. This love for both feasting and fashion runs on a rather precarious ledge with me always teeter-tottering between being happy with my body and then going into panic mode. I know, I know, there are better ways to stay in shape then going to extremes, and I have slowly learned this (through too much yo-yo dieting mishaps) so I am happy to say I have found something that does help me shed some pounds and inches as well as boost my metabolism and reduce the acidity from some of the rich dishes I tend to indulge in from time to time. I juice. Yes, my motto is just juice it. If I wasn’t so lazy, I’d probably just juice my own stuff, but I have the personality of one who likes to invest in something in order to believe that it will work. So, I don’t mind spending for fresh fruit and veggie juices to be delivered to my house (including superfood smoothies) whenever I need to detox, and detox quick.

Juice for you. Freshly made everyday.

Juice for you. Freshly made everyday.

Take the weekend that had just passed. I was carefully planning my ensemble to attend my newspaper section’s 10th anniversary, but because I’ve been having too much of a good time socializing with both new and old friends, I did notice a thickening in the waist and a little bloating in the belly. I exercise almost everyday, whether it’s walking/running or yoga but I knew that in order to slip into my dress rather than squeeze into it, I would have to zip my mouth. The thing was, it was also my mother’s birthday and we were planning a special dinner for her. I didn’t want to be one of those mood-dampening dieters who wouldn’t touch a single thing when others were celebrating. Besides, it was a restaurant of my choice, and I wanted to eat something glorious with her so I decided on getting a moderate juice fast from Juice Jab. ( Juice Jab has several “strengths” of juice fasts. The first is a mild version, which you take to just replace ONE meal a day, the second (moderate) which I chose is to replace TWO full meals in a day (and if that one meal consisted of just fruits and veggies-you could lose more weight) and the third was strong, meaning the whole three days you would just take juice instead of solid food. Now, I’ve done the Master Cleanse (10 days of just liquid) so a weekend for me would be easy. As a brief background, my Bangkok-based friend Mia, introduced me to Juice Jab’s founder, Bibet who was very helpful on the phone when I called her asking which level of juicing would be best for me based on my desired result. Thanks again Mia and Bibet!

Moderate mission. My six bottles per day for the weekend.

Moderate mission. My four bottles per day for the weekend.

To be honest, when you’re given the option of juicing +food or just juicing, I realize I am more disciplined with the just juicing bit, having the option of eating even one meal kind of makes me go a little overboard, like a man on deathrow being given a last meal. But like I said, I did want to eat at my mom’s birthday dinner so I stuck with the moderate option and made a promise to myself to hydrate more and slot in extra exercise when I could. The first day was the easiest, as the first batch of four juices arrived. Very cute bottles, unusual in shape, but I do wonder if they could be recycled or returned for the environment’s sake. The first juice tasted very much like the Master Cleanse concoction (Gold Strike-cayenne pepper, honey, lemon, water) exceptthat Master Cleanse uses grade B maple syrup (more antioxidants) than honey. This, plus the Emerald Punch (celery, ginger, pineapple and spinach) were my favorites in terms of taste. Very refreshing and great after a yoga class especially when taken chilled. The advantage of taking a moderate strength juicing program over a strong one is that you can still exercise at your usual pace since you are being hydrated and you are allowed solid meals. If you aren’t used to a detox, then start off with the mildest version, and work your way up to the strongest one.

In the mix. See what juices contain what.

In the mix. See what juices contain what.

The juices are delivered the night before and come with a an insulated bag (for first time orders) so you can carry your juices wherever you go. What’s great is, should you decide to order again anytime in the future, your next order is less since it removes the price of the insulated bag. Here are the price points:

Price is right and gets light (er) with every order!

Price is right and gets light (er) with every order!

So what happened? I didn’t need to lose a dramatic amount of weight, so I was happy that by Monday I had gone down to my “ceiling weight” and my dress went on without any hitches. I may have to watch what I have for dinner tonight but that is certainly better than having to fidget and pray that a zipper or stitch doesn’t blow while you’re moving about in a crowd full of people.

Added bonus? Since I was able

Friendly fitness! Juice with a buddy.

Friendly fitness! Juice with a buddy.

to juice away 2-3lbs pounds and a lot of acid and junk during this detox my body felt way (and weigh) lighter during a hard yoga class last Saturday, and my instructor even remarked how much more “open” my body was. Music to a beginning yogini’s ears.

For a healthy quick fix, or for that big party where you want to look and feel incredible, look to juice 🙂 Oh, and I want to add, if you need a “support system” you can get a friend to join you and you get rewarded not only with better health but a Php 200 gift voucher on your next order. Win-win!

Check out for more information and to place your order (delivery charges may apply)

Eating based on blood type-The Chrono Geno Nutrition Diet

In Living a Life Off-Center on May 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm

It’s been some time since I’ve come out with a blog. 2013 has certainly been a busy one for me, but one filled with an enormous about of blessings. From travels, to seminars, to new work opportunities, I cannot share enough of how grateful I am for this year, and look forward with open arms and an open heart to even more blessings coming in. One thing that I am not wanting to welcome in is more weight gain, and since early May I have committed myself, with all seriousness to finally changing the shape and health of my body.

First of all, I went semi-vegetarian for fifteen days, and then I plunged into Stanley Burrough’s Master Cleanse for ten days. Some of you may know this as the “lemonade diet” or the diet Beyonce went on to get fit and trim for the movie Dreamgirls. Suffice to say, I lost around 11 lbs in those intense 10 days and that gave me the confidence to continue shedding more of my excess weights. My former beauty editor in my former magazine job, Erica Paredes, recommended I try the Chrono Geno Nutrition diet from Belle Today ( The diet was to be customized based on one’s blood type, activity level, food tolerance (if any) as well as eating lifestyle. I decided to give it a go and after the election holiday I decided to start.

The website with personalized coaching as well as diet suggestions and plans.

The website with personalized coaching as well as diet suggestions and plans.

I spoke to my personal dietician Charmaine who interviewed me on what my eating habits were. Mine are not great, only because I’m always on the move and find myself eating out more than eating at home. Plus, I don’t have the talent for cooking, so that is an even greater challenge as I normally eat what’s put in front of me when I dine at home. My activity level was good, as I do yoga 3-4x a week, walk 5k almost everyday and have started doing a crossfit type aerobic and weight resistance program called HEAT 1x a week. Still, I was told, being a type O, there were certain foods that were considered favorable (can eat with frequency), neutral (foods that don’t give too many benefits) and unfavorable (foods that should NOT be eaten more than twice a week.) I was asked to commit for three months, although with only about 10lbs to shed, I was assured I could probably take that off and keep it off after one month of commitment.

I was also given several online tools; to journal my weight loss, inch loss, see what meals I would eat for phase 1-4 as well as a shopping list of what to buy for the week ahead. There was also a daily video and a weekly call promised to keep me encouraged enough to go on as well as track my progress. The pros and cons of knowing your blood type and seeing which foods to eat is to show how much genetics plays into our weight loss. Dr. Chauchard, a french doctor who came up with this program says ” “We eat and lose weight based on our genes.” Sadly, mine was quite intolerant to starch (rice, pasta, breads, desserts-which I love) as well as most dairy, but it did allow me a good amount of protein such as beef, lamb and seafood, with of course, lots of greens and fiber.

Healthy balance of protein, greens and fibers is key for my blood type.

Healthy balance of protein, greens and fibers is key for my blood type.

There was of course, some resistance from me when I was first given my meal plan. Certain foods that I don’t look forward to such as oat bran (for fiber) and chicken ( I prefer red meats) but I was told that I could switch the chicken with seafood or lean beef, as for the oat bran-well, that was a non-negotiable, as it would help regulate (for lack of a better term) the way I would process and eliminate what I ate. Also, there was the “Chauchard tea” that I was supposed to take three times a day that would help in reducing bloating as well as help my metabolism. The meal plan, although not as appetizing as a restaurant menu guaranteed I wouldn’t feel deprived the whole day. Oh, and because Chauchard is french, the continuing phases allowed for chocolates, cheeses and even wine. Thank goodness. The first two weeks though had me munching on dark chocolate and almonds for a snack, and dairy wise I was only allowed low-fat soy milk and  yogurt.

The meal plan includes recipes, for certain foods that you may not normally serve at home such as a quiche-like egg dish for breakfast. What I enjoyed about having so much personal attention from my dietician is that I didn’t have to sacrifice my social life, I would tell her where I was going for lunch or dinner, if she could pull up the restaurant’s menu she could advise me on what to order that would still be acceptable for my program. Genius. Thank goodness for the internet as most restaurants do have their menu (or part of it) available for viewing online. Needless to say, there were days when I cheated a bit, having a little starch here and there, but I would always be honest and write this all down on my online weight loss journal. At the end of the first week, Charmaine would make a comment about what I did that was “ok” for my diet, and what I could have chosen instead of what I did on days that I veered off my program. Nothing negative, just giving me (for example) why I should have chosen a certain fruit instead of what I ate due to its glycemic index, thereby slowing down my progress.

Salad ways: Changing up when eating out. My nicoise sans potatoes and the dressing.

Salad ways: Changing up when eating out. My salad nicoise sans potatoes and the dressing.

Today, I’m on Day 1 of Week 2 of my Chrono-Geno Diet. I have lost about almost  3 lbs plus an inch from my waist, hips, biceps and thighs. Although I do find myself craving still, I also am enjoying the challenging of eating within the parameters of my diet (hopefully I don’t cheat too much this week) plus having someone to talk to about my progress as well as a cool shopping list that makes me feel like I’m on a mission every time I hit the supermarket. Hopefully, by the end of week 2 I will already hit my target weight, and can enter phase 3 and 4 that allows starch and dairy with more eating mindfulness.

Fingers crossed and weight scale waiting…

Mid-week energy boost with a scrub made from dead sea salt and aromatic oils :-)

In Living a Life Off-Center on November 21, 2012 at 3:49 am

Scrub the stress away with these energizing salts.

Wednesday is also known as humpday and I’m wondering if that’s because people actually experience a figurative speedbump in their energy levels mid-week. It seems that you’ve just gotten revved up workwise Monday and Tuesday but Wednesday starts to bring thoughts of end of workweek deadlines and the much needed rest you are looking forward to over the weekend. It seems uncanny but are there days when you feel that you take work home with you a little too much? Not just files or research material but even the issues of other people from colleagues and whatnots that seem to way heavily on your body and skin? If you’ve ever felt that way  then I would highly recommend investing in a kickass body scrub that can make you feel like literally peeling off the negativity when you bathe.

The Dead Sea has been known for its healing properties, with many a pilgrim going there for a soak in order to cleanse. Salt, when non-iodized and its purest form is considered a purifier, so you can imagine what kind of benefits one gets when using a scrub which incorporates dead sea salt. Jericho Energizing Salt Scrub with Dead Sea Salt and Aromatic Oil  (from Php 2,200-3,600 depending on the size) is a great product to have as part of your in-home spa. (If you haven’t started your in-home spa yet, you should-for a quick fix when you don’t have time to go to a real spa). If you’ve never tried a scrub this would be a good one to begin with, although I recommend you use it in the morning or mid-day rather than before going to sleep.

The consistency may feel a little sticky but the scrub itself is great for hard to reach places and make sure focus on skin areas that receive the most impact like the soles and heels of your feet, knees and elbows. It’s also a good idea to get your lymphatic system a charge my concentrating on areas that are prone to sweat like your armpits and inner thigh (groin region).  A good ‘ol srub once a week (max of 2x a week) is good overall to exfoliate deadskin cells, giving you brighter more illuminated skin as well as improving your circulation. Plus, you can mentally imagine that you are scrubbing away bad juju (from nega vibes and nega people) that sometimes feel like they’ve gotten stuck on you. Wash all that anxiety go down the drain and enjoy the feeling of coming out of your bathing ritual in a brand new “skin”.

Jericho Cosmetics are found in kiosks in SM Megamall, Mall of Asia, Eastwood Mall, Alabang Town Center, Marquee Mall, SM Pampanga and SM North Edsa.

Smooth operator-my model moment with a wrinkle reducer :-)

In Living a Life Off-Center on November 10, 2012 at 12:44 am

Let your skin look hassle-free for the holidays.

Holidays can be glorious respites from anyone’s day to day but they are not without their stresses. A three-week vacay had me across the globe immersed in different climates and timezones. Jetlag is nobody’s friend and I’ve contented myself with working when I can’t sleep. So, lack of adequate shut eye, added to squinted eyes working late nights have not done my skin any favors. Not to mention hopping from one plane to another (freezing) then out into the searing heat of the summer sun can really let the sins of the skin out. Having normal/oily combination skin has pretty much saved me throughout my youth, but in the twilight of my thirties, I have noticed that there are some expression lines, ok, wrinkles that are here to stay. Having just gotten back and still battling with a messed-up bodyclock, I’ve had to soldier through meetings and even two shoots (close-ups at that) and realized that my simple routine of cleanse, tone and moisturize is no longer enough. Based on a friend’s recommendation I gave the very straightforwardly-named “Restorative Instant Wrinkle Smoothing Cream” from  Céleteque DermoScience a whirl.

I smoothed on the cream right after my moisturizer and was pleased to see that even if it felt rich it wasn’t greasy and heavy on my skin. I focused on two areas of my face, the frown line between by eyebrows and another prominent line above my left eyebrow. I guess my years of squinting at my laptop screen had finally caught up.  The product (Php 699 suggested retail price) comes in a  15mL travel friendly size tube and is tested to be non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic. I put on my make-up and went through my day. That same night, I decided to put it over my entire face and neck since I liked its texture anyway. Over the weekend this Instant Wrinkle Smoothing Cream was part of my vanity routine and I did notice that the two areas I had focused on had indeed reduced, quite rapidly in appearance. They didn’t seem to be as deep as before (especially the one in between my eyebrows which can be quite pronounced) and even the one above my left eyebrow was barely visible. Suffice to say when I showed up at my shoot several days later I was told I looked “fresh” even without make-up on, and having come from a late night from work, that was a truly ego-boosting compliment!

This is a cream I’m definitely going to stock up on, keeping one at home, and one in the office, in case I need to go from a convention to cocktail and works really well with my concealer. Since it contains PhytocelltecTM-which helps the longevity of skin cells to combat skin aging, and Collaxyl, a collagen peptide ingredient, I am confident that I can keep my skin looking as youthful as possible, in spite of my rather hectic lifestyle for years to come!

And yes, they actually took my picture and quoted me 🙂 Everyone has a model moment, and hopefully more than just one!

Instant and long term effect on wrinkle reduction in a tube from Celeteque!



Panda Sunglasses-sunnies for the green-minded fashionista comes to town

In Living a Life Off-Center on November 1, 2012 at 3:18 am

I am so enthused that an eco-friendly line of sunnies has finally landed on our shores. I go through scores of sunnies every year since I get tired of the look or, I lose them, or, much worse, they suffer through the wear and tear of my many travels. Since I’m such a beach bunny it’s important I bring with me a sturdy pair whenever I’m out in the sand or the surf and because of the metal components of some of them there is a danger of them rusting out on me. Worse, I have had the experience of losing a favorite pair that fell off my head during a boat ride and took less than a splt second to sink down into the deep blue never to be found again. Not these babies, though. Made from high-grade, ethically produced bamboo they actually float on water, so, no sinking here!

Best selling Kennedy in brown. Happy birthday Mr. President?

Another component is that they incorporate TAC polarized lenses are made from recycled polycarbonate materials, making them lightweight and yes, also environ-friendly all around.

Natural bamboo colors make a fine statement. Martin in Natural shade.

There are several styles and shades that still highlight the fine wood detail. Giving them a design edge that plastic or metal cannot compare with. Mother Nature certainly knows best!

Black beauty. Nelson black shades still show of fine wood detail.

Price-wise, all models are at a pocket friendly Php 6,000 a pop, almost half of what more commercial brands cost. Plus, Panda is a company with a conscience; every purchase provides the Gift of Vision through the TOMA Foundation, an international non-profit organization that donates glasses to people in need.

Crusoe would have needed these. Robinson in brown.

The basics are certainly covered for those concerned that although they are for the green-minded (and hearted) fashionista, as these lightweight frames have  100% UVA/UVB Protected lenses, are water resistant and yes, as I said before, they float in water 🙂 so great for clumsy adventurers like myself!

Channel your screen siren, with an eco-friendly edge. Monroe in Natural.

So, as we have to now live with global warming, wouldn’t it make sense to use accessories that protect your peepers from the sun yet that are Mother Earth considerate at the same time? Shades of glory for sure!

Panda Sunglasses are available exclusively online and can be delivered right to your door from



Treasure throw-aways. This estate sale give valuable goods a second chance.

In Living a Life Off-Center on October 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Sterling silver medallion. My precious!

When I lived in the UK I enjoyed watching a TV show entitled Antique Roadshow which followed a host (can’t even remember his name anymore) going from town to town in England looking at what seemed like group “garage sale”. I use the word “garage” loosely because most of these lawn-based sales comprised mostly of antiques. Antiques that to the untrained eye, could just be a piece of junk. Yet, with the expertise of the host and a little clever salestalk from the seller, the value of each piece started to shine. Sure, there were things there that you’d never spend a sterling on but it was wonderful to see an ugly duckling of a thing leave with an incredible pricetag after it was appraised. Truly, one man’s junk can be one man’s treasure.

Come sail away with me. Get shipwrecked while searching for something special.

Locally, there is the Estate Sale Philippines that has taken upon itself to be the curator for other people’s no longer wanted pieces, these pieces range from small knick-knacks to full on dining tables and chairs. For someone furnishing their house or apartment this is a great opportunity to have dibs on quality furniture and home accessories rather than going through more generic pieces found at local malls and retail shops. A lot of the pieces are one-of-a-kind, since some are custom-made or no longer found in the market.

All kinds of classy glasses. Entertaining gets easier.

Aside from a whole range of things to choose from, one can walk away with something for every budget. You can pick up a full-on tea set for about 500pesos, gem-encrusted pillboxes for 20,000, wine glasses, decanters, utensils. and the list goes on. Best to trot on over to see what you can discover for yourself or even gifts for those on your Christmas list.You might even pick up a fashion accessory too such as these vintage-fully beaded clutches that go for less than P1000 each!

Full beaded bags. A steal for less than a thousand bucks each!

Find something fabulous in a unique shopping venue this October. 🙂 I’ve got my eye on a sterling silver tambourine medallion for my holiday bling!

Check out this special sale on:  124 Malvar Street Ayala Alabang on October 24, Wednesday until October 27, Saturday from 9:00 a.m -7:00p.m.   

View the link for a sneak peek at the items that will be on sale:

An all-around beauty oil for any skin emergency VNM Naturals Rosehip Oil

In Living a Life Off-Center on October 21, 2012 at 3:40 am

Skin-irritants are always around, and often you’re not quite sure what they are exactly you just end up being the unsuspecting victim of a sudden, ugly, and angry rash (sometimes worse). My skin has thankfully been pretty resilient to most fabrics and fragrances that are placed close to it, but one thing I do experience once in a while is a rash from sweating it out. Perhaps it was the lingerie I used at that particular time but I end up with almost a milky way of angry red (and very itchy) bumps along the lines where my intimates border. And I do have to say they are terribly uncomfortable when they are at their worst. You definitely do not want to scratch in those areas in public even if your body is screaming for it.

Trying to stay on the path of all things natural I’ve tried some homeopathic remedies (ingested) to calm down the burning and itching and they would work for a time, but when they would wear off the itching would start again. Plus, the inflamed areas of my body were in no way diminishing, I would then slather on the richest moisturizers I had on before dressing up just to make sure I would soften the area as much as possible, preventing me from wanting to scratch. When I was younger I would even scratch til it would bleed (I know, TMI at this point but I’m sure some of you can relate.). I was very close to asking for something more industry standard (read, enough chemicals to build a bomb with) when I took one last look at my beauty stash in my bathroom. Throughout the years I have been fortunate enough to have been gifted with product upon product to try and test. So much so, that many have remained unopened (once I found something that worked, I pretty much stuck to it) or have been passed on as gifts to very appreciative girlfriends.

One oil to rule them all. 100%.

Among the many product lines I have received the gifts from VNM Naturals were standouts. Their emu oil ingredient which was infused in most of their products had already been many a testimonials subject, plus, I was a fan of their Smooch Lip Detox balm. Something I would put on and actually enjoy before my favorite lipstick because I felt like a massage on my lips each time. This time though, a small unused bottle of their Rosehip Oil caught my attention. I flipped it around to read what it was for and it said it could cure dermatitis and eczema as well as diminish the appearance of scars (even surgical ones) and age spots. I thought, why not? I wasn’t sure what my rash fell under but it wouldn’t hurt to try. I rubbed some on and hoped for the best.

I’m not quite sure exactly what happened and in the time that it happened but it seemed within 48 hours I noticed I wasn’t feeling the itching burning sensation as I did several days before. When I checked in the mirror, I literally had to take a step back as the rashes had turned from bright red to a light pink and the bumps had almost flattened out. I guess the product worked really fast because I had almost forgotten about the rash! I am going to estimate that it took less than a week for the rash, the bumps and even the discoloration to be completely gone. I was floored. I was also ecstatic that I had uncannily found a product that I could use for my skin emergencies. At Php 800 for 20ml it was certainly a worthy investment, that was small enough to carry with me especially when I traveled.

Hats off to this particular product, if you’ve got a first-aid kit at home, consider putting this little gem of an oil in your permanent beauty emergency one!

To get more information or order contact:

V&M Naturals
Skin and Hair Nourishment From Nature
The First True Emu Oil Skin Care Line in the Philippines

Flexibility Not Required (FNR)-a new approach to life-balancing yoga

In Living a Life Off-Center on October 18, 2012 at 1:47 am

Flexibility is not required for an FNR class but you will get it nevertheless with practice!

The benefits of a regular yoga practice are often repeated in my posts, and if you will indulge me I will repeat them again now. Yoga is one of the easiest (yes, easiest) ways to get yourself balanced both inside and out. It is still physical, meaning it incorporates movement so your heart and lungs get to work and at the same time it requires gentle focus, letting you work on one “asana” (pose) at a time. Well, ideally that is how it’s supposed to be. Nowadays, there are many forms of yoga, the most commercial of which promise you a fat burning, cardio increasing workout. Those are great for those who are at that level, and yes, you can have that “yoga butt” if you really want to and feel the burn. I’ve found though that many who have practiced with speed and almost acrobatic like moves end up (through time) getting injured because they haven’t built their pose foundations properly. Instead of correctly using their muscles and their breath (or at times even using the correct muscles and the breath) they just switch on to auto pilot and use strength and momentum to go from one pose to another. Improperly done this leads to muscle wear and tear, and even worse, pain that may turn them off yoga forever. Which for me, is a royal shame. Yoga can be a firm, yet gentle practice, one that allows adjustment; you are not trying to look exactly like your instructor or your mat-mate during your asanas, you are trying to feel the best you can whenever you are in a sitting, standing, lying or inverted position. And, on top of that you are trying to get maximum benefit for YOU.

Everybody and every body is different. And yoga should be a celebration of that.

This is one of the reasons why I fell in love with Urban Ashram Manila’s FNR (Flexibility Not Required) classes. I have been a rather inconsistent yoga practitioner for about 6 years now, getting into it, then getting out of it. I’m relatively flexible but my upper body strength is something that has always been a challenge for me. Oh, and of course, my core, which I never use (or at least it doesn’t feel like I use it). When I was younger, doing astanga yoga, jumping through poses was like an exercise for me, it was “easy” because I was strong enough and fit enough to just go from one to another with an athlete’s ability. Thing was, I wasn’t really building strength I was just just finishing the class as best as I could. So, when I was invited to what was considered a beginners class for vinyasa about three months ago I felt so let down when I was losing my breath and falling all over the place when I couldn’t hold my poses. Or, I was literally collapsing into them. Suffice to say I never went back to that particular class.

Yoga allows you to be expressive of you. Through every pose.

Anusara, a heart opening practice became my next choice and I enjoyed its gentleness and meditative benefits, it certainly gave me a lot more openness in my postures and made me more conscious of the way I stood and sat. I did feel that I wanted more though after a year of practicing it, so I decided to try out a class of FNR in Urban Ashram’s newly opened quarters in the Fort (their first one is in Brixton St., Kapitolyo). Our teacher for that day, Marc, was the one who thought of and put into action this particular practice. It really felt like I was re-learning all my basics, in a good way. I had not really been taught what was the right way to go from pose to pose and what to “feel” . That was the most important aspect as you need to feel your muscles work (this is partly muscle memory anyway right?) and if you weren’t using the right ones, or knowing how to use them you could end up straining your knees, your ankles your neck and shoulders. He also showed me that for my body type that I had to make minute adjustments to get into and keep a pose with more strength and less effort. It was pretty amazing. Tiring at first, but I could feel the change right away. Within a month of regular practice in this 75 min class (it’s great to begin your mornings with it) I was doing poses that I had long struggled with, and I’m talking years of not being able to do them with confidence.

Know your limits and strengths and learn how to improve!

What can I say? Get on that mat, and do it the right way with FNR. You can be any level in your practice, from zero to yoga hero and still benefit from loving corrections to your body and soul.


For more information go to: Or call (02) 661 YOGA / 0917 881 YOGA

Make a green statement with a bamboo bowtie this Holiday season!

In Living a Life Off-Center on October 3, 2012 at 2:27 am

Bond, Bamboo bond…

Tis the season to roll out the formal wear it seems. Week after week I’ve been happily receiving invites for celebrations with the common theme of attire:formal or even black tie. As much as I love to see men in monkey suits, a great suit and even make a so-so looking guy gorgeous to be honest, I’m also enjoying certain “twists” in style. Not everyone goes for the standard black and white (unless it’s prescribed) but even if it is, I find my attention being turned to those who rock up with a certain fashion statement, one that purrs “I wear the clothes, not the other way around”.

One accessory that I’ve seen on men (and some women) is the bamboo bowtie, cleverly named the Bambowtie.There are versions for men and for women. I hope they make one for kids one day!

Even ladies can tie this on with a cool outfit 🙂

I’ve seen several of my friends who struggle when putting on the traditional bow-tie so if they’re stylishly bold enough they can just hook this on to their penguin suit. Other clever dressers have latched this on to a polo shirt, while some women have opted to turn this into a makeshift neckpiece or choker. I must say it is a standout, you just need the eco-friendly energy to carry it off for total cool-ness factor.

Added bonus? Bambowties are made by Bamb EcoLogical Technology Inc. which was founded by Bryan Maclelland (you may have seen his gorgeous mug in many TVCs and in the pages of several glossies) is a socio-ecological enterprise that hand-makes bamboo bow ties with fair-trade labor and sustainable building practices. Their Bambowtie builders come from Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine-based community development organization for the poor, working to bring an end to poverty. We put 10% of our profits toward a sustainable development fund, which is working on a bamboo nursery for reforestation and a playground for the children.

So, not only do you have a statement piece to wear out, you also contribute to aiding our countrymen. At Php 650 per tie, that’s a pretty good deal. Hope to see more bamboo wearing men and women out soon!

Bambowties for men and women are available online from check them out at Bambowties